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Lucky No. 7 The Fantastic Game 1940 WORLD SERIES

         

    One of the most exciting games ever played in Cincinnati came in 1940 when the Reds won the World Championship at Crosley Field by beating the Detroit Tigers, 2-1, in the seventh game.

 

Detroit took a 3-2 lead in the Series, winning the fifth game, 8-0, behind the three-single pitching of Bobo Newsom. The Reds evened the count in Game No. 6 when Bucky Walters pitched a shutout and hit a home run in a 4-0 Cincinnati victory.

 

Those two games set the stage for the climactic seventh. A standing-room-only crowd of 26,854 jammed into cozy Crosley Field.

    It was a classic mound matchup. Newsom, pitching with only a day's rest, faced Paul Derringer, the Reds right-hander who had won 20 games during the regular season. The two had been the starters in Game No.1, a 7-2 decision by Detroit.

Detroit jumped on top with a run in the third inning. Billy Sullivan, the Tiger catcher, singled and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Newsom. Sullivan scored moments later when third baseman Billy Werber overthrew first base after fielding Charlie Gehringer's hot smash.

 

Newsom pitched shutout ball for six innings before the Reds could muster anything. In the seventh the Reds got their chance.

 

First baseman Frank McCormick, the National League's Most Valuable Player with a .309 batting average and a league-leading 44 doubles, drilled his specialty, a double, against the left-field fence to lead off the seventh.

    Jimmy Ripple, the left fielder who was acquired midway through the season from Brooklyn and batted .307, followed McCormick to the plate. Ripple sent a long drive to the right-center-field power alley. It looked as though Detroit right fielder Bruce Campbell would catch the ball.

Fearing the catch, McCormick held at second, but, as the ball fell, he headed for home. The Tigers would have had a play at the plate, but shortstop Dick Bartell held Campbell's throw. McCormick scored standing up to tie the game. And Ripple slid into second.

 

Ripple went to third when catcher Jimmie Wilson sacrificed. That brought a limping Ernie Lombardi out of the dugout to pinch-hit for Eddie Joost, the second baseman. Lombardi was intentionally walked and shortstop Billy Meyers came to bat.

 

Meyers had walked out on the team earlier in the season because of "personal problems." In Game No.7 he had no problems. He worked the count to three balls and one strike and then delivered the winning run across the plate.

 

Meyers hit a long fly ball to center field. Ripple tagged at third base. After Barney McCosky caught the ball for the Tigers, Rippleraced home with the go-ahead run.

 

Derringer took over, retiring the final six Detroit batters, and Cincinnati won the World Championship.

 

The Reds were quite adept at winning games in this fashion. During the regular season Cincinnati had won 41 games by a one-run margin and lost only 17. It was a case of almost everyone in the lineup contributing something, a hallmark of the team all season long.

    The city of Cincinnati celebrated its World Championship in grand fashion. Automobiles were not allowed to enter the downtown area and crowds spilled into the streets. It was a wild night of celebrating. A streetcar was dismantled. For the most part, however, Cincinnati celebrated with class, savoring its first championship in 21 years. It would be 35 long years before the city would know such a feeling again.

 

         
       

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